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Rahm's Email Dump Pulls Back The Curtain On Top Donor Interests

By aaroncynic in News on Dec 22, 2016 6:49PM

Rahm Emanuel / Photo: Aaron Cynic
In what has the potential of becoming an annual tradition, Mayor Rahm Emanuel released nearly 2,700 pages of email communication from a personal account as part of a settlement in a lawsuit by the Better Government Association Wednesday. The information dump stems from his use of a personal email account to conduct city business, which the Chicago Tribune has also sued him for, and comes just shy of a year after his office released some 3,000 emails related to the death of Laquan McDonald at the hands of Chicago police.

The emails are not flattering. They show Emanuel bragging to a campaign donor about gutting Chicago’s retiree health program, calling the Tribune a “failing paper,” and receiving a request from former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood about the placement of a pro-Uber op-ed. The trove of emails also shows plenty of communications between Emanuel and several high-profile donors to his campaign.

For example, Illinois’ richest man Ken Griffin, who’s forked over more than $1 million in contributions to Emanuel, tells Rahm he had a rough time on the Lakefront bicycle path, which might’ve been the original impetus for his donation of $12 million for separate bicycle and pedestrian paths this week.

“Lake front bike path is a disaster. How can this be after they just refinished much of the path,” Griffin writes in an April email to Emanuel. “Why doesn't the city paint the speed bumps on the road white—my damage bill is over $10k from going over one at dusk.” In a follow up communication he asks if they can accept private donations.

In a May email, Muneer Satter, a former Goldman Sach’s executive who contributed more than $450,000 in donations to committees tied to Emanuel decries the progressive tax proposals and taxes on the wealthy, saying that those could lead to Chicago turning into Detroit.

“Your progressive tax plan is going to sharply erode tax revenue for the state. You will get 10% of nothing. So it will not work. Byron Trott said he plans to leave. Others also leaving. The result will be Michigan. You could put in place a city tax. But people will move their offices out to the suburbs. The result will be Detroit. I don't know how to fix it. But special tax on rich has the major risk or backfiring so instead of 5% you go for 10% and in the end get 0%.”

During the lead up to the 2012 strike by the Chicago Teacher’s Union, former Exelon executive John Rowe, who’s donated more than $40,000 to Emanuel, reminded Rahm that he is in charge of the city and compared “school reform leaders” to a herd of cats.

“First, you are THE MAYOR. You are past the point of needing to prove to anyone that you are moving faster than your predecessor. We all know that even though we all respected him as you did.”

“We all seem to agree that Jean Claude needs a mini-Rahm to create accountability for his plans. Mini-Rahms are hard to find and maybe a contradiction in terms.”
“...while tabby cats compared to your political friends and foes, the various school reform group leaders are still cats and they herd poorly. Getting them together will require a very specific mandate. Bruce and I will not wait.”